Scripture: John 5:1-15
Observation: Jesus heals a man who was sick and paralyzed. Immediately, the man picks up his mat and is able to walk.
Application: Who else hated the phrase “mom knows best” growing up? In the summer after fourth grade, I begged my mom to let me shave my legs. It was so cool! So adult-like! But she adamantly refused, claiming mom knows best. I was furious. I daydreamed of having silky smooth legs, and clearly she was intent on ruining my life.
Eventually, she gave in, and I “got” to shave. It was so cool! So fun! So adult-like! And then it became a chore. Seventeen years later, I do anything in my power not to shave my legs because it might just be the worst thing in the world. (Mom, you really did know best.)
Now that I’m a mom, I completely stand behind the “mom knows best” statement. I’m no expert, but I often know things that my son, Luka, can’t possibly know. He hates getting his diaper changed, but he doesn’t know that without a diaper change, he’ll get a nasty diaper rash. He hates getting his face whipped off, but he doesn’t know that the food on his face will become crusty and eventually even harder to get off. He gets upset when mealtime is over, but he doesn’t know that his stomach will hurt if I just let him eat endlessly.
I know things he doesn’t know. (Someone please remind him of this when he’s 15.)
In this story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man, it’s clear: Jesus knows things we don’t know.
When Jesus meets the man, he knows his condition and simply asks if he would like to be well. Here’s how the man responds:
“’I can’t, sir,’ the sick man said, ‘for I have no one to put me into the pool when the waters bubble up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.’” (v. 7)
(He’s referring to the pool of Bethesda, a place that people suffering from illness would come. Some believed that an angel of the Lord would come and stir up the waters, and the first person to get into the water after it “bubbled up” would be healed.)
When we read through their exchange, we realize that the man didn’t even answer Jesus’s question. Jesus asked “Do you want to get well?” and he responded, “I can’t.” He didn’t even see healing as a possibility.
But where we see impossible, God sees possible.
Where has our limited faith limited our limitless God? Where have our circumstances gotten so difficult, our sin so overwhelming, our relationships so broken that we believe God can no longer renew, heal, and restore?
Prayer: God, thank you for the healing power of Jesus. I pray you’ll help me open my eyes, see the things that only you can see. Help me develop a perspective of possibility. Amen.